By The Book bills itself as a “half reality show, half self-help podcast and one wild social experiment.” Comedian Jolenta Greenberg is joined by her “skeptical” co-host Kristen Meinzer as they explore a different self-help book each episode. For two weeks, they live by the book’s rules, documenting their lives and discussing the effects these rules are having, for better or worse.
With 88 episodes to date, the duo has followed a range of books, from the trendy “How to not give a f*ck” and “Little Book of Hygge”, to popular classics such as “Love Languages”, and “The 9 steps to financial freedom”. I love this podcast because the hosts are so honest (sometimes too honest) about their experiences and do a full follow up a week after the experiment. At the end of each season, they even follow up with their husbands, to discuss the effects they think the books had on both their wive’s lives and their lives together as a couple. This gives a unique and comprehensive understanding of the success of the books, as often, when one member of a couple embarks on a change of lifestyle, the other member is also required to participate, at least indirectly, and so it’s great to have a complete overview of what actually happens when the rules are followed.
The best thing about this podcast is that the pair are refreshingly open and free with their opinions and fully accept how their lives, privilege and upbringings may influence how they act and feel. Their own stories would make fascinating podcasts in themselves- with histories of adoption, abandonment and family issues, but the duo has overcome these adversities to have wonderfully successful careers, mainly on their own terms.
This podcast is great in and of itself. It’s an hour a week, making it perfect for a commute or to take your mind off a horrible chore, and will make you laugh out loud many many times. Kristen and Jolenta are personable, entertaining, and immediately feel like your own best friends. But more than that, this podcast is great because it shows you that women can be funny and successful. It encourages the listener to be brave and adventurous, and also to pursue your goals, interests, and most importantly, be confident in yourself.